Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 335

335 Arctic Yearbook 2015 In sum, domestic politics has thus so far played a marginal role for the UNCLOS process, but it may disrupt the Arctic delimitation process in the future. Domestic forces may pressure governments to pursue a more demonstrative course, even though it is not in the best interest of the state. The Russian planting of a flag on the Arctic seabed in 2007 provides a case in point. The event, which was organized by leading members of the incumbent United Russia Party, did nothing to strengthen Russia’s claim to the pole, but it led to raised eyebrows in the other Arctic capitals (Chivers 2007). The geo-economic features of the Arctic and the grand strategies of the Arctic coastal states thus support the UNCLOS process. The area around the North Pole probably contains very few, if any, exploitable resources and the states generally have an interest in keeping the region peaceful. Domestic politics is the great unknown in the strategic calculus. The question has significant symbolical value for several of the coastal states and domestic forces may pressure Arctic governments to throw a wrench in the UNCLOS machinery. The present and future of the delimitation process The states have so far accepted the conditions outlined in Ilulissat and they have allowed the UNCLOS framework to run its course. Before the Ilulissat meeting, in 2001, Russia made a claim that extended to, but did not include, the geographical North Pole (Russian Federation 2001). Canada and Denmark found that the claim lacked data and they were unable to form an opinion (Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations 2002; Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations 2002). The US argued that the ridges that Russia claimed to be part of its continental shelf (the AlphaMendeleev Ridge and the Lomonosov Ridge) were, in fact, free-standing oceanic ridges and Washington recommended that the CLCS should request more data, if it was unsure about the Russian claim (Permanent Mission of the United States of America to the United Nations 2002). Norway accepted that CLCS considered the claim (Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations 2002; The Russian Federation 2015). Overall, CLCS found that the claim lacked sufficient data and requested a new submission (Russian Federation 2015; Byers 2014: 107-09). Denmark’s claim from December 2014 covers an 895,000 km2 area and is more extensive than observers had expected. It overlaps with